June 18/07 9:44 am - Michael Barry Returns to Racing
Posted by Editor on 06/18/07
Barry Returns to Racing
The T-Mobile Team go to the five-day Ster Elektrotoer (19.-23. June) stage race in the Netherlands on Tuesday with a sprint-minded team. Fast men Mark Cavendish, Gerald Ciolek and Bernhard Eisel lead the charge at the sprinter-friendly race, where their job will be to win bunch finishes.
"It is great to have three top class sprinters at our disposal," says team director Jan Schaffrath ahead of the 700 kilometre tour. "They will all get their chance to put their top-end speed to good use. We will decide on a day-to-day basis whether to ride for Cavendish, Ciolek or Eisel."
Fresh off two wins at the Triple Crown series in the US, Austrian Eisel is brimming with confidence. "My confidence and morale is sky-high after the success in the US. We will be a powerful force in Holland. If the competition is marking me, then I will ride for Mark or Gerald. Most important is that the team wins," says Eisel.
Young British sprinter Mark Cavendish is on the same wavelength. With five season wins already in the bag, the Manx speedster is keen on more wins to stay in the frame for a Tour place.
"It's like a dream sometimes, I never thought I'd be celebrating two ProTour stage wins at race as big as the Tour of Catalonia in my first pro season," says the 22-year-old. "We are bringing a strong team to Elektrotoer. If the legs are good, then I will sprint for the stage win. But I will also be there for Gerald and Bernhard."
Supporting the three fast-men in the border region that straddles the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany are the two experienced veterans Axel Merckx (Belgium) and overall winner in 1993 Servais Knaven (Netherlands). Also in the eight strong squad are Thomas Ziegler, Lorenzo Bernucci and Canada's Michael Barry - in his first race outing since recovering from a bout of pneumonia.
The sprint competition in the Netherlands will be fierce - fast men Max van Heeswijk and Graeme Brown spearhead a strong Rabobank squad, while CSC have defending champion Kurt-Asle Arvesen and sprinter Juan José Haedo in their ranks.
The UCI Category 2.1 race makes cross-border excursions on stages three and four - Thursday's longest stage is from Aachen to Valkenburg, where the finale will be played on the famous Cauberg of Amstel Gold Race fame. Friday's stage finishes in Belgium, but the race returns to the Netherlands on Saturday for a likely bunch finish in Eindhoven.
Michael Barry (31/Canada)
Lorenzo Bernucci (27/Italy)
Mark Cavendish (22/Great Britain)
Gerald Ciolek (20/Germany)
Bernhard Eisel (26/Austria)
Servais Knaven (36/Netherlands)
Axel Merckx (34/Belgium)
Thomas Ziegler (26/Germany)